UNO Researchers Release Report on Immigrant Economic Impact

Jan 3, 2013

UNO’s Office of Latino/Latin American Studies, College of Business Administration and Center for Public Affairs Research, recently released a report on immigrant economic impact.

Chris Decker, Professor of Economics at UNO, says the group used data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for its study. 

The information that was collected was put into an economic model. 

The study focused on the on the economic impact Latin American and Other Immigrants have in Iowa, Nebraska, and the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area.  

Decker says the study looked at first generation, foreign-born workers.  Areas with shrinking or slow population growth may be less likely to attract new businesses, because those companies tend to want to locate in areas with a plentiful labor force.

Decker says that’s where having an immigrant labor force is helpful.

"We do tend to gain if we do have an immigrant population that can fill needed jobs in this region.  And the proportion of the population that is first generation, foreign-born in Nebraska is about 6 ½ to 7% and over half of that immigrant number are Latino and Latin Americans.”

The report shows that the immigrant population substantially contributes to the construction and food services sector. 

The study also looked at what would happen if the immigrant portion of the labor force was unavailable in those sectors. 

Decker says the results indicate that the metropolitan economy would fall by $6.5 billion.